Dubai’s Traditional Souks – Why You Should Check Them Out!
Dubai, the land of glitz and glamour is a must visit for every traveller!
Speaking of glitzy festivals, Dubai’s traditional souks are also quite fascinating. So join Neha Singh as she gives you nine reasons why visiting these traditional souks is an absolute must!
Far detached from the flashy atmosphere of massive malls and shopping centres, Dubai’s souks or traditional bazaars dotted across Deira and Bur Dubai are a unique Emirati treasure, which not only enables you to connect with local people but also experience the region’s unique sales and trade tradition first-hand. If you’re looking for more fascinating reasons to visit these souks full of life and buoyancy, here are a few of them to make it into your Dubai itinerary.
1) Find Something Exotic And Unique
Get ready to mine a rich layer of retail treasures on a tour of Dubai’s souks. With stalls and specialty shops selling everything from colorful garments and slippers to priceless antique silver, beautiful carpets, and incredible nautical artifacts, the Old Souk (also known as Textile Souk) is a major draw for hardcore shoppers. There is also a plenty of one-off and quirky specialties to lure even the prudent shoppers within souks like Spice Souk, Perfume Souk, etc. Moreover, it is worth to fight through the bustling troop of covered Naif Souk to shop one-off handbags, textile, and leather stuffs. Not to mention, if you’ve enough time to rummage through the racks and piles of merchandises seen in these souks, you’re sure to unearth some real gems.
2) For A Gold-Clad Experience
Yes, you heard it right! Crammed with hundreds of shops exclusively dealing in gold, platinum and diamond ornaments of several different designs and makes, you’ll not find a place as dazzling as Gold Souk anywhere else in the world. From huge gold bars and outsized multi-layered chains to one-of-a-kind rings, bangles and bracelets crafted in pink and white gold, it has apparently everything to keep hoarders of unique jewelry pieces happy and engaged for hours, with the add-on that you can shop your favored ornaments at best prices. So whether or not you’ve plan to shop, make sure you pay a visit to this magnificent souk with shimmering and eye-striking displays.
3) Great Sensory Experience
Souks offer the kind of ambience that big shopping centres and malls often lack. Boasting a rare sensory experience enriched with joie de vivre, flavors, voices, and visions, the souks serve as a window to best experience the real Dubai and get an insight into its authentic culture. From the heavenly fragrance of oud and naturally distilled athars and the sight of colorful spices to the irresistible aroma of freshly prepared shawarmas and other traditional snacks wafting through the air to the sound of the hustle and bustle, you should stand still for a moment to feel the true essence of the emirate and immerse in the astonishing atmosphere of these souks.
4) Pick Arts And Crafts, Emirati Style
Souks are an epitome of rich Arabian heritage means you can easily shop a real piece that is ideally indigenous to the region. Whether you wish to own a unique Arabian coffee set or an intricately hand-woven carpet or marvelous prayer rugs as well as beautiful prayer beads or other niceties depicting Emirati culture, souks are undoubtedly the place to explore unique treasures.
5) For A Slice Of History
Dubai’s popularity as a hub of trade and commerce is largely attributed to these souks, especially Old Souk, where merchants around the world have been trading their goods since centuries. Due to its proximity to the historic Dubai Creek and old world charm with many 19th century wind tower-topped buildings, visiting a souk in Dubai is rather more exciting and enjoyable than going to a museum. Round off your souk experience by taking an abra ride or a dhow cruise along the quaint waters of creek.
6) Best Place To Fine Tune Your Haggling Skills
It’s not uncommon to see here Emiratis, tourists and expats alike jostling for great deals. Even if it’s not for saving money, don’t be afraid to haggle, as traders consider this lively activity as an art itself, which further allows you to experience the authentic charm and character of these souks. But it is vital to hop around and distinguish the quality and variety of products before you attempt to haggle. Al though English is widely spoken, knowing a few catchy Arabic phrases like ‘Kum Fuloos’ (how much), ‘Kaif Halak’ (how are you) etc, besides striking a pleasant conversation with vendor before negotiating, may sometimes help you to land a genuine deal.
7) People Watching
Dubai is a multicultural destination, and there is no place as fitting as its souks for people watching. Meandering through the packed alleys of these traditional markets will enable you to observe people from all warps of life, from South Asians working hard to make a meager income to budget conscious customers haggling with vendors to swanky visitors who are just here to jump off the usual touristy track and experience the region’s artistic heritage. In fact, there is a little unembellished reality beneath the atmospheric elegance of these souks. Stake out a table in one of the alfresco dining establishments to take delight in this pursuit.
8) Indulge Your Taste Buds
A good concentration of small cafes, restaurants, and al fresco dining venues can be seen in almost every souk. In fact, one obvious reason to visit these traditional market places is to devour on a wide range of aromatic and taste bud-tingling culinary specialties on offer here, such as typical Arabian snacks, spicy Asian delicacies, and scrumptious sweets as well as dry fruits.
9) Finally, Gifts For Everyone
There is nothing as fulfilling as returning home with a rare collection of souvenirs picked up from your vacation spot’s quintessential shopping place and shopped for an unbelievable deal. No matter you want to treat yourself or your dear ones with a hard-to-buy antiques, traditional fabrics, bric-a-brac or wooden artifacts, souks are undoubtedly amazing spots to find everything to appease everyone on your gift list.
We hope the above reasons have gotten you enthusiastic! So be sure to visit these wonderful souks and enjoy the most memorable and fascinating experience you could ever have in Dubai!
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About The Author
A postgraduate in Mass Communications, who loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally. An avid trekker & explorer, who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering. She loves meeting new people & gets attached to their culture very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in Gandhian principle – “simple living high thinking”.